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Elephant Rumblings: A’s running hard in Spring Training

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

New MLB rules could promote more aggressive baserunning and an increase in attempted stolen bases this season, and the A’s seem to be actively testing the waters with their running game in Spring Training.

Specifically, two new rules should make base stealing easier: first, the bases have grown from 15 to 18 inches squared. That may not seem like a lot, but I’ve seen countless plays decided by margins smaller than three inches. Second, pitchers will be restricted to two mound disengagements per plate appearance. This should result in pickoff attempts being made more sparingly.

Per Matt Kawahara at The San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s headed into last night’s game ranked third in stolen bases among MLB teams this spring, with 33 bags pilfered in 39 attempts. Not surprisingly, Esteury Ruiz leads the pack with six stolen bases. He had 85 steals in the minors last season. Conner Capel trails Ruiz with four stolen bases, and Nick Allen and Tyler Wade are tied for third with three apiece.

A’s manager Mark Kotsay said that players are being allowed to run more freely in Spring Training, but it won’t necessarily carry far into the regular season.

“We’ll start out the season and evaluate which guys we’re going to give the green light to and which guys we’re not.”

We won’t be waiting long to find out who gets the green light, as Opening Day is just six days away. Be sure to check out Kawahara’s full piece if you have access to The Chronicle. Have a wonderful weekend, AN.

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